1-2-3 Come Plan A Christmas Party With Me
The day before any vacation can be pretty wild, as children are bound to be filled with lots of energy. Their excitement for the season finds some of them not sleeping well, so you have cranky pants to deal with too.
Because of this, I planned all sorts of educational games and especially fun activities for the last day before Christmas break. Our official "party" was "supposed" to take place at the end of the day. Let's face it, when it's Halloween or Christmas time, the entire day might as well be a "party" and by the time the "end of the day" rolled around, my Y5's were also pretty much done and tired as well.
Wearing my Santa hat and jingle bell necklace, I told my students that we'd be doing extra special lessons, games, crafts etc as part of our "party" and that we'd be having a great time all day, ending quietly with our gift book exchange and snack. I never once had a child say: "When is the party going to start?" They were also happily focused, busy learning all day, just in a different way.
Behavior was wonderful, because they got the chance to get the wiggles out throughout the day. Gross motor activities were a part of our report card standards, so even our dancing and prancing around was legit. To keep children calm, I also played soothing Christmas music throughout the day.
I've compiled a list with brief explanations, of all of my favorite classroom Christmas games that I've played with my students over the years. They are quick, easy, educational and fun. Most of them require little or no preparation. (Woo hoo!) I ho-ho- hope you find something that will fit in perfectly for your party day. It's so important to give students brain breaks to keep them refreshed. Click on the link to view/download the Christmas Games packet which includes 36 games!
I've up-dated the packet to include stationery for students to write how many words they can think of using the letters in Merry Christmas.
Give students 5-10 minutes to work on this individually, then have them work in groups of 3 or 4 to combine their lists. Remind children that they can make more words by adding an s or es to make plurals. (A teachable moment.) Contractions are another option, or ask students how many of their classmates' names can be made with those letters.
What team had the most? Put my list on an overhead; did they think of words that weren’t on my list? Have them guess-timate how many words are on the list and then have them count them to see who has the closest guess. (I thought of 657!)
Make a copy of the list and have students circle all of the words that they don’t know. For whatever time remains, challenge them to look up as many words as they can and then share one or two with the class.
Here are a few other table top lessons you could plug in to cover standards in a game-type fashion; also, any of the winter alphabet cards that I've been posting, would work well. All those letter packets include a 3-page tip list of ideas, including games to play.
If you're set for party day, but want something for that busy first day when you return after break, any of these snowman themed activities would also work.
This snowman matching game is a lot of fun and reinforces numbers, number words, counting and tally marks. It also includes a keepsake "craftivity." Click on the link to view/download the Snowman Number Puzzles.
Help reinforce upper and lowercase letters + numbers from 1-20 with an "I Spy" game. Teen numbers are sometimes toughies for little ones. Practicing with an "I Spy" game makes it more interesting. My Y5's enjoyed playing "I Spy" daily. It was a fun way for them to practice, as well as a quick and easy way for me to whole-group assess.
Teacher starts by calling out a number or letter; students trace it and then raise their hand when they are done. I could tell at a glance who was having difficulty. Play continued with different children taking a turn to choose the number or letter for classmates to find.
The worksheet served double-duty, as I'd tell my students to take it home to play again with a family member, this time circling the letter/number. Click on the link to view/download the Snow Spy packet.
Finally, students catch on fast to the concept of small-medium and large, as well as the difference between a 2D and 3D shape, when they can do a hands-on craftivity.
This was the reason behind "Snowman Melt" "My snowman was 3 snowballs, 3 spheres with a hat, now he's melted into 3 circles that are flat!" Click on the link to view/download it.
For more games and activities click on the link to visit Miss Mary's Victorian and Vintage archive.
If you're looking for some online Christmas games for your kiddo's to play as a computer center, I found a site that lists over 1,000.
Make sure you play any online games first to make sure that they are age and content-appropriate for your kiddo & educations.
For more ideas and FREEBIES, check out my winter Pinterest boards. They are themed and filled with lots of creative fun. I spend a lot of time searching the web for interesting and educational FREE stuff, so you don't have to. You can also click on this December link to pop on over to that section of TeachWithMe.
Once there, you'll find categories for the following: Christmas, Elves, Gingerbread, Ornaments, Reindeer, Santa, Snowmen, Snowflakes & Wreaths. Lots of these activities would also be terrific for your last day or Classroom Christmas party, particularly the ornament section if you're looking for a quick craft to do as a center.
That's it for today. I hope you found some "We're Winding Down" tips and FREEBIES for those last few days before you can collapse, rest, rejoice and get energized for next year! Feel free to PIN away.
"A good conscience is a continual Christmas." -Benjamin Franklin